I am slowly working through the presets and also how to tweak everything. It is a complex pedal.
The sound samples, even the good ones, do not do it justice. When I ordered it, I was worried that it would be sterile sounding. It is not. The word I would use in general is buttery. There is no harshness to any of the presets except where it was obviously intended.
The big thing I noticed is how clean it is. I did not notice single preset that added any noise whatsoever. All the sounds are super high fidelity in a really nice way. Like I said before, buttery.
The chorus (and flanger) presets at this point seem very Alex Lifeson, like the tones off of Moving Pictures or Permanent Waves. Very clean and bright. I'm not a big chorus guy, but I like small clones and the roland jazz chorus sound (pretty sure it's the same as the CE1?). The five chorus modes in the mobius cover a lot of ground, from small clone/polychorus (the mobius seems a little less murky) to 80s transparent ones. That said, the mobius is the only chorus I own these days, so I can't do a strict comparison. I really like the detune mode, it feels almost more like a modulated delay (but with no delays) than a chorus to me–it leaves your basic tone intact, but seems to run a seasick warbly chorus in parallel with your tone. Pretty neat. I really like that it has a chorus-only tone knob. The range is very useable and only affects the chorus.
More choruses should use this feature. Overall, very musical and just super clean. I was going to buy another polychorus before this, so that saved about $220.
I like flangers but don't use them all that often. The only flangers I have ever really messed with are the polychorus (long gone) and the ross flanger (still have). Of the different mobius models, I liked the silver the best. It really does that Andy Summers/Police thing beautifully. Supposedly, the gray model is a Ross/MXR style. (I've always felt the ross is half chorus, half flanger.) It definitely gets that sound, but is WAY quieter. The black does through zero. I had a hard time dialing that one in, it seems to do both subtle and absolutely bananas sounds with little in between. It's probably me–I messed around with a TZF for an hour or so years ago and had the same experience.
I've always loved the small stone, and never really branched beyond it. The phaser is so flexible that it will take me a long time to really learn it. It has a huge range of stages (which up to a point make it more chewy and thick, and then eventually get really weird), as well as different wave shapes. The wave shapes are crazy–I've never heard phasers that use square wave and the like instead of sine. Of the effects I've tried so far in this unit, this is the one that will take the most time to really learn, but man is it fun. Just super super versatile, and once again, incredibly buttery sounding. Good bye, small stone. ($70).
I absolutely love univibes and have played with a lot of them. My favorite is the provibe that was part of the old foxrox captain coconut 2. It was like swimming through waves of pudding. The vibe here can do a lot more than I've seen in univibes before, including changing the headroom and the wave form (although not to the degree the phaser does). I was able to create really great tones, but couldn't quite dial in the exact univibe sound I wanted. I know it's in there, because I've seen videos of other people who dialed it in. I can't get it to be suitably murky. I'm wondering if the difference I am feeling is how noise-free and crystal clear it is. I have been continually surprised by the fact that the mobius is so clean and clear that it takes some getting used to. Regardless, the vibes are beautiful. I was going to get a Skreddy Swirl, but probably won't now. Sorry, Marc. (Which would be $230.)
This setting has a lot in there that I haven't touched, I've really just messed with the enveople filter settings. I am very picky about envelope filters. I really like them to bloom in the bass/low midrange. Too many of them dump all the bass and have a squeaky, grainy tone. The envelope filter here sounds just the way I like it. Basically, it can do the Jerry Garcia Estimated Prophet sound. I know it can do way more than that, but honestly, that's what I will use. It even has up/down. I had a qtron+ and loved that feature. Although I don't have the qtron+ anymore, I have always considered buying it again. (Which would be $150.)
The formant is basically an envelope filter / autowah that does vowel sounds. You can set it to change from one vowel sound to another, and it has different wave forms. I thought it was dumb on the Ludwig Phase 2 synth, and I think it's dumb now. Maybe you could use it instead of a talk box for when your band plays living on a prayer for the class reunion. I bet tina robinson would want to have sex with you then, now that she's old and fat, too.
Tremolo is another effect I just don't use a lot, usually because I've never had a tap tempo one before. The mobius has three modes–tube, harmonic and photoresistor. Tube is kind of swampy, with no hard edges to the pulse. Harmonic adds a kind of a subtle chorus to the tube sound, and photo is more choppy, but not quite square wave. I think it allows for you to change the wave shape, but it doesn't say so in the manual and I'm not near the box right now to confirm. Either way, I really like the tones here, once again they are very buttery. The tube setting is my favorite, it is identical to the tremolo on my gibson scouts but without the noise. With the tap tempo, I could see getting some use out of these.
The pattern trem is (I am guessing) similar to the Boss Slicer or the zvex seek trem (although I have not tried either), basically a vibrato with a sequenced pattern of pulses, rather than a metronomic one. I haven't ventured beyond the presets on this one. There are several wave forms. Seems like it could be useful every so often, or at least fun to mess with. I really want to see what it does with square wave, but I don't think any of the presets did that. Probably would be really cool combined with a looper. I know it is programmable, but the instructions are not very clear and I haven't mess with it to figure it out. The instructions just let you choose the number of subdivisions of each beat from 1-16. I'm assuming that this means that 1 means play a quarter note, 3 means play a triplet rhythm, etc. Super fun to mess with, I suspect I will use it more with re-amping recorded parts than playing live. For example, it would probably be really cool to record a rhythmic riff, then program the pattern trem to the same rhythm and run a sustained chord into it. I wouldn't have bought an effect just for this, but it's pretty cool.
Yep. It cuts the attack of your signal and swells in. I haven't tried tweaking it much, but it seems to work as advertised. You can add chorus if you want. Why not? You like chorus. Add some. As should be obvious, it works best if you are starting from silence and playing a sustained note, although the manual says it has a setting for faster playing. It doesn't seem like it starts from zero, but rather just very quiet, but I will have to record it to see. I can't tell right now if I am just hearing my guitar in the room or quietly through the amp. Anyway, could be fun used with delay.
One of the big effects I wanted was the destroyer, specifically the ability to do warped record sounds. I have had a lofi loop junky for years that I love, I tried the lofi junky (non-loop) and thought it was way to fake and digital sounding. The mobius does not. It sounds very natural, like a warped record with a lot of scratches (that you can control the volume of). One thing I noticed is that the scratch noises start as soon as you engage the effect, whether you are playing or not, so it's an effect that you have to be sure you turn on only at the point you are ok with getting crackle. They also are essentially a short loop of scratches, so they sound kind of fake if you are not playing along with them. The lofi loop junky/lofi junky is almost like a low fidelity chorus sound, and is REALLY noisy. The mobius sounds for that kind of thing are way more authentic (to a warped record) and have no noise. Less like a chorus and more like a worn out record through a gramophone. I will use this too much. It has multiple settings that are different filters, so you can get various levels of lofi-ness. Really really cool.
The rotary is a leslie sound. I already have spent a lot of time with the strymon lex, their standalone leslie pedal, and it is amazing. The lex has some features the mobius doesn't–a little more flexibility in subtle tone things, and the hold for brake option (which is cool but not something I would use often). The important thing to me was whether it can do the basic boxy chorus sound of the Lex, and whether it had the same overdrive, which I really like. It does. Something I love to do is to set it for minimum rotary settings with the overdrive cranked. It gives you the leslie boxy sound without any pulse at all. Really cool for recording. I realize rotary is not a high priority effect for most people, but it is seriously great. I haven't used the mobius on rhodes yet, but the lex is great on that, too. Before this, I was going to buy a lex if I didn't buy the mobius. (Saved $299 there.)
I can't really say much about the quadrature at this point. The presets vary from very bell like ring modulator tones to synth-style sweeps. Tweaking the settings, I can't predict what they do in terms of sampling rates–sometimes a low one will sound high fidelity than a higher one. (I assume it is operator error.) You can set the ring mod frequency manually if you want. It generally sounds very good, but it's not a feature set I am likely to use all that often. I have an arturia factory that covers my synth needs. That said, I'm sure I will use it for weirdness from time to time.
The instructions are decent, but should be more detailed. There are certain things that I only was able to understand in the instructions after I figured out how to do whatever it is. For example, to change the mode of an effect, for example, to change the chorus from dbucket to multi, you push the Value knob, them rotate the knob to say Mode, then push the knob again, then rotate the knob to choose the mode. I don't mind that it takes 4 steps to change the mode, but I had to figure out how to do it myself, because the instructions never explicitly say that's the process. It says you can change the modes through the value knob, but none of the examples used the mode function and I didn't get it. Making it even more confusing, the instructions describe Mode as a “parameter” over and over again. There are two knobs marked Parameter, and neither is used to change the Mode (except on one or two effects--I think phaser is one). Until I figured it out, I would push Value, then turn the parameter knobs to change the mode–which is wrong. They would be well served by changing the manual to describe the process for everything done through the Value knob in more detail.
I have some trouble with the tap tempo switch. It seemed like sometimes it recognizes when I am tapping tempo and sometimes it doesn't. My guess is that I am using it wrong. There is probably some trick I don't know, or certain presets can't use it, etc. Regardless, I'm going to build a tap tempo box, because certain features are only accessible if you turn off the tap tempo switch on the unit itself (just for that preset), like changing the leslie from fast to slow.
I love how many presets it has, but the banks are a pain. You get 100 banks of 2 presets each. As far as I know, there is no way to cycle through the presets quickly (there probably is, I just don't know it.) If you have a lot of sounds, the banks could be a real problem, especially because if you have to change sounds in different banks, you will have to change the bank before you want to change the sound. Probably normal for people with midi setups, but I would have to practice changing the effects beforehand.
You can't run multiple effects at once. Not a big deal to me, but may be to some. I really only see it as an issue if I wanted to use the warped record or vibrato sounds with something else. But for me, since I mostly record, I can just re-amp them to add those effects on top of others anyway.
Strymon provides a manual, but you have to download the list of presets. It's in color, which means that to get it printed in full fidelity, it will cost you. I haven't tried printing it in black and white, but if they aren't going to provide it in the box, making it black and white will make it print better for people who don't want to pay $1 a page after spending $450 on a pedal. The kids need to eat.
The mobius is just a super versatile unit, with great sounds and a lot of tweakability. It is expensive, but if you do the math, a great value. A $449 for 12 effects, it's $37.41 per effect, and all of them are better quality than you would get for $38. Also, from the perspective of effects I would likely have bought in the next year or two, I would have spent around $970 to get less tweakable, (generally) noisier versions that take up more real estate. Yes, it's expensive, but it's really great, and really small for what it does.
- More info: Strymon Mobius